A charismatic child actress who has segued successfully into teen and adult roles, Sara Rue made her feature debut in 1988's "Rocket Gibraltar" playing the daughter of Kevin Spacey's character and rose rising to prominence a decade later as a talented and spirited high school student excluded from the cheerleading squad because of her size on The WB's "Popular" (1999-2001). Dark-haired and full-figured with fair skin and a somewhat guarded but winning smile, she showed great range in her performances, playing shy or gregarious, nurturing or sniping with equal aplomb.
Rue made her regular series debut in 1990 on the serial NBC sitcom "Grand" portraying the well-adjusted and self-possessed daughter of a single mother (Pamela Reed). In 1992 she returned to the big screen, playing one of the grandchildren of the deceased in the comedy-drama "Passed Away." That same year she had a memorable guest role on the ABC sitcom "Roseanne," cast as a teenage incarnation of the title character in an "A Christmas Carol"-reminiscent Halloween special. A recurring role on the sitcom "Phenom" kept her with ABC from 1993-1994, and in 1995 she was featured in the network's TV-movie comedy "Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare."
Regular series called again, and Rue was cast as the endearingly spacey receptionist for a child psychologist (Rondell Sheridan) on the sitcom "Minor Adjustments" (NBC, 1995; UPN, 1996). The actress stayed in the public eye with roles in the TV-movies "For My Daughter's Honor" (CBS, 1996) and "Silent Hearts" (Lifetime, 1998), but series work would offer her greater opportunity to create memorable characters. In 1998, she guested on an episode of CBS' medical drama "Chicago Hope," playing a troubled pregnant teen handcuffed by court order to her exceptionally abrasive mother. She was also featured in a recurring capacity on the forgettable Martha Stewart-spoofing CBS sitcom "The Simple Life" (1998). The following year she made an impression in the snarky sitcom "Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane" (The WB) playing Breeny Kennedy, a brutally cunning wheelchair-bound bully. Rue's theatrical take on this unexpected and over-the-top villain helped inject the show with added punch, but didn't raise the low ratings. More successful was her turn as wannabe cheerleader Carmen Ferrara on "Popular," which won the actress many fans and admirers. The series, in turns realistic and fantastical, offered Rue the opportunity to develop a multifaceted and compelling yet altogether human characterization that helped to fight single-minded stereotypes about women based on size while allowing the actress to hone her dramatic and comedic skills.
On the big screen, Rue went from stealing scenes as the ranting activist Earth Girl in the teen comedy "Can't Hardly Wait" (1998) to holding her own in the effecting dramas "A Slipping Down Life" and "A Map of the World," starring alongside Lili Taylor and Sigourney Weaver respectively. Although she would be featured as a nurse in the 2001 summer blockbuster "Pearl Harbor," that year's "Gypsy 83" would finally allow the actress her starring feature debut, playing a young woman who idolizes iconic and eccentric rock singer Stevie Nicks. In 2002, Rue was cast as Claude, a newbie in the world of corporate ladder climbing, in the the ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect." Rue gelled well with her co-stars and provided a strong audience surrogate on the show, prompting its renewel after delivering moderate ratings.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made feature debut playing the daughter of Kevin Spacey in "Rocket Gibraltar"
Was a regular on the NBC sitcom "Grand"
Played one of the grandchildren of the deceased in the comedy-drama "Passed Away"
Played a teenage incarnation of Roseanne in 'A Christmas Carol' inspired Halloween episode of "Roseanne" (ABC)
Had a recurring role on the ABC sitcom "Phenom"
Acted in the ABC TV-movie, "Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare"
Played the spacey receptionist for a child psychologist on the series "Minor Adjustments" (NBC, 1995; UPN, 1996)
Played a supporting role in the CBS TV-movie, "For My Daughter's Honor"
Returned to features with a memorable role as Earth Girl, a student with vocal opinions, in the graduation set comedy "Can't Hardly Wait"
Made a guest appearance on "Chicago Hope" (CBS) as a pregnant teenager about to deliver who is handcuffed to her abrasive mother
Had a recurring role on the short-lived CBS sitcom, "The Simple Life"
Acted in the odd independent feature, "A Slipping Down Life"
Featured as Sigourney Weaver's cell mate in the acclaimed drama, "A Map of the World"
Played Carmen Ferrara on the high school-set series, "Popular" (WB)
Played obnoxious wheelchair-bound teen Breeny Kennedy in a recurring role on the WB's "Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane"
Had role as a nurse in Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor"
Played a young woman who idolizes rock singer Stevie Nicks in the independent film "Gypsy 83"
Played Claudia Casey on the ABC sitcom, "Less Than Perfect"
Guest-starred as Berta's youngest daughter Naomi on the CBS sitcom, "Two and a Half Men"
Cast as the Attorney General in the Mike Judge comedy, "Idiocracy"
Had a recurring role the CBS sitcom, "The Big Bang Theory," playing the character of Leonard Hofstadter's girlfriend
Cast in the short-lived ABC series, "Eastwick," based on the John Updike novel and 1987 feature film